The One About Making No More Dough

I WANT YOU TO REALIZE, my gentle readers, that I understand what I’m going to say here is considered controversial in some circles.

I get it.

I’ve been told I’m wrong by many well-meaning people, but I don’t believe them.

Nope, I hang with Einstein on this one. Remember him? He is the genius who said: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” 

Well, it’s with that quote in mind that I share with you my belief that IT IS OKAY TO GIVE UP.

Yes kids, I feel there are times and situations wherein sane, well-adjusted people just. give. up.

One needs to know why she is giving up AND how her life will change because of it. That’s important, of course. But in the end, some times the act of giving up is the best way to get on with your happy life.

• • •

To wit, one must accept the fact that to move forward one has to let go of behaviors and ideas that no longer serve one.

• • •

WHICH IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE would be the idea that I’ll ever be able to make homemade pizza crust that doesn’t taste like stale saltines AND doesn’t give me heartburn.

[I don’t know what it is about using those little packets of yeast, but I always end up chomping on some Tums after I eat anything bread-y I make with those little packets.]

Thus with the foregoing insight into my rational thinking abilities and my admission of pizza-making failures, I shall end this post by sharing a gussied up photo of perfectly wonderful commercially-purchased frozen pizza dough resting on a floured cutting board sitting on our kitchen counter.

This would be pizza dough that I have NOT made, vowing here and now before God and the blogosphere to never again attempt to make pizza dough from scratch.

I. Give. Up.

In Which Ms. Bean Hurts Herself While Doing Good, Of Course

This is going to be a rambling blog post. ‘Tis time to tell a story, one that answers why I briefly stopped commenting on blogs, in case you were wondering. And even if you weren’t wondering, here’s the story.

• ❤️ •

FACT #1 – About 10 years ago I was in a car accident.  A 17 y.o. neighbor girl child rear ended me as I turned into our driveway.  She was texting instead of paying attention to driving.

As a result of the accident I suffered a rotator cuff injury that, after drugs and a few months of physical therapy, healed with no lasting damage, until two weeks ago.

FACT #2 – Over the years because I didn’t know how to say “NO” I’ve inherited more stuff than you can imagine.  Among said stuff is furniture that is old, usable, but not really worthy of an auction.  More like vintage, slightly distressed furniture that you’d find at a flea market.

FACT #3 –  In August Zen-Den and I decided to contact St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store to see if they still offered free furniture pickup for donations.

The answer was a qualified “YES” in that they’ll pick up furniture that you’ve managed to wrestle to the garage, but they’ll no longer come into your house to carry the furniture out.

FACT #4 – We live in a house on a wooded ravine lot with a walkout basement.  This means that to get furniture from the basement, where it is stored, to the garage, where St. V de P will pick it up, is literally an uphill challenge.

• ❤️ •

In a moment of middle-aged bravado…

Z-D and I said to ourselves WE CAN MOVE THE FURNITURE from the basement, up the side of the hill, to the garage.  And thus we convinced ourselves that we, and by we I mean me, weren’t weak and pathetic and pre-old.

While many pieces of furniture were easily managed because they were small, think end tables or mirrors, other pieces of furniture were awkward to carry.  For instance, there was a large old oak rocking chair, but most notably THERE WAS AN OLD 5’x2’x1.5′ CEDAR CHEST that had been my mother’s hope chest as a girl.

Amazingly we got the rocker up the hill without incident, but THE CEDAR CHEST WAS ALMOST NIGH-ON IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO BALANCE as we trudged up the hill.  It is while carrying this cedar chest and not dropping it that I slipped on the grass on the hill and wrenched my previously injured shoulder.

I instantly knew what had happened, but continued to carry my end of the cedar chest into the garage BECAUSE DAGNABBIT I WAS GOING TO HELP.

• ❤️ •

Well, the rest of this story…

is exactly what you’d expect.  MY SHOULDER HURT LIKE HELL for a few days;  I started alternating ice and heat on it while taking Advil.  I stopped using my arm as much as possible, including reaching out to type on a keyboard.

And now, after about 10 days of TLC, I’m almost back to normal.  There are twinges, but no shooting pain.

As for our donation to the St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, it went smoothly.  The men arrived as scheduled, were pleasant, took all that we offered them, and ultimately OUR BASEMENT IS MUCH EMPTIER/BETTER because of it.

I’ll heal, but being charmingly cynical by nature I cannot help but think of the old saying: no act of kindness goes unpunished.  I’m glad we donated the furniture, but did I have to get hurt in the process?

Apparently the answer is YES.

• ❤️ •

FYI: Yesterday morning I found this informative + fun article on NPR: Lift Your Head and Lower Your Arms– You Might Just Feel Better

I’ve done what it suggests and today I’m grooving on proper posture, finding it less painful/easier to type. When the student is ready the teacher arrives, eh?

A Bug In My Beer: News & Nonsense From My Staycation

A pretend To-Do List I created on my remember the milk app to see how the app works. My conclusion? It’s easy to use & fun, too.

WE WENT ON vacation, or more accurately staycation, last week.

We stayed at home like we’ve been doing, but we called the week a staycation because Z-D didn’t go to work at the kitchen table, his office for the last 6 months– and probably many more.

Instead we did practical things like getting flu shots, and painting the mailbox post, and venturing into a Honey Baked Ham store to get a hambone with which to make soup, and taking things to Goodwill, and replacing the bedroom ceiling fan with a snazzy chandelier [more on that adventure later].

Good projects to a one, but not what I’d describe as vacation activities per se.  Still, like they say, make hay while the sun shines so we were productive.

• • 🏡 • •

IN MY OPINION the highlight of our time at home was a bug dying in my beer.  I’d made myself a lager & lime with fresh lime juice, putting the beverage into a Pilsner glass because I was on vacation staycation and wanted to be fancy, darn it.

As I’m sure you realize when beer is poured onto lime juice bubbles happen, starting at the bottom of the glass around the lime juice itself then moving upward.  I’d taken my drink onto the deck where I planned to sit at our little table and pretend I was in an outdoor pub in England.

[Because if 2020 had unrolled the way I’d planned it, I’d have been in England at some point during the year.  On a real vacation.  But I digress…]

• • ✈️ • •

HOWEVER FATE INTERVENED in the form of a small bug that flew into my beverage, died, then began to float up and down inside the glass.  While I looked on it rode the bubbles from the bottom on the glass to the top, then sank back down to the bottom of the glass on what can only be described as its very own dead bug rollercoaster inside the glass.

Not pleased.

I tried to get the bug out of the glass with the corner of my paper cocktail napkin but it was too fast for me.

Yes, a dead bug was too fast for me.  

Eventually I went into the kitchen, got an iced tea spoon, and returned to the deck where I was able to scoop the dead bug out of my lager & lime which I then drank refusing to worry about buggy germs.

After all it’s 2020 the time of novel coronavirus– and there are worse things than bug germs attempting to harsh my buzz &/or kill me. ‘Ya know?

Keeping it all in perspective, I am.

[FYI: While I’ve enjoyed my Summer Hours I’ll be back to my regular weekly blogging schedule next week. With cooler autumn days ahead I’m feeling that it’ll be time for me to spill the beans here more often.  

I’ll be attempting to post mid-morning because that seems to work for me now that we’re at home all. the. time.  Plus I promise next week I’ll get back to commenting more often on your blogs. Mea culpa.]

Adapting With A Smile: Getting The Groceries, Trying The Recipes

Welp, it has finally happened even though I said I’d never do this.

You see, we’ve started using online ordering for our groceries, then we go, together, to pick up our order outside the store.

There’s no charge for this now and it does seem like a healthier way for us to get groceries.  Plus not to put too fine of a point on it, we have the time– and allow me to clue you in, it can take time to do this.

On our last adventure our assigned pickup time was for a 5:00-6:00 p.m.  We arrived at 5:03 p.m., got in a line with about 20 cars in front of us, and left the parking lot with our groceries in the trunk of the car at 6:58 p.m.

Yes, almost 2 hours in line to get food, safely.

Ain’t life a pip? 

• • •

The knocked over sign said: PICKUP LINE STARTS HERE  We laughed at the folly of it all, having been in line for an hour before getting to this *beginning* spot. From the look of the damage to the sign someone before us may not have seen the humor in that sign at that point in line.

• • •

We did have a weirdly good time waiting in line together.  

We started watching shoppers, most of whom didn’t have masks, going in and out of the store.  We started making up back stories about them OR criticizing how they handled their groceries once they got to their vehicles.

Case in point, a woman wearing surgical gloves came out of the store pushing a cart, walked to her car, opened the trunk, put her groceries into the trunk, walked over to the trash container, removed her gloves properly.

Then USING HER UNGLOVED HANDS she opened the flap on the trash container, disposing of the gloves therein.  She walked back to her car trunk, shut the trunk, got into the car, and drove away– using her hands that had touched the trash container to do so.

ICK!

• • •

The shy sign said: PICKUP WAITING STARTS HERE We chuckled with mirth, but weren’t duped. We’d been in line for close to an hour and a half at this point. Clearly this sign saw what had happened to the previous sign and was taking precautions to stay safe.

• • •

Now that we’re dining in all the time we’ve been cooking and baking: carbohydrates are our friends.

In truth we’ve been having fun while trying new recipes and/or revisiting old ones.  In all cases we’ve adapted the recipes to work with what we have procured via said online ordering/pickup scenario discussed above.

Below is an alphabetized list of recipes we’ve made.  I’ve rated them and made a few notes about what we changed because of… oh you understand why.

Click on the title of the recipe to be taken to it online.

Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie [A+] – used ground beef instead of ground lamb

Baked Cheese Grits [A] – used half & half instead of whipping cream

Bisquick Velvet Crumb Cake [B-] – added nutmeg to batter, cinnamon to topping 

Brown Rice and Corn Cakes [A] – used onion powder instead of fresh chives, white flour instead of whole wheat

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies [A+] – didn’t change a thing!

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes [A] – added 1 tsp vanilla extract, a pinch of nutmeg

Easy Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie [C-] – made as is, not bad but old-fashioned and blah

Grandma’s Anything Goes Strata [B] – used all milk [no half & half], used cooked bulk breakfast sausage instead of deli meat, added 1/4 tsp brown mustard

Lemon Curd [A+] – no changes to ingredients, cooked using double boiler instead of directly on heat 

Martha Stewart Spiced Walnuts [B+] – used 1 tsp chili powder for 1/2 tsp coriander

~ The End ~

A Lunch Date Wherein I Am Happy But Told I Should Not Be So Happy

You’re too happy.

I met an acquaintance for lunch.  She’d texted me the afternoon before we had lunch to arrange where she suddenly wanted to go to lunch.

Nowhere convenient, I’ll tell ‘ya that.

However, I happily rearranged my schedule to accommodate her whim preference, but that fact seemed to escape her notice as we sat there eating and talking.

Nope, she was on a rant about all that is wrong in the world;  and she needed me to know that in her opinion I was too happy when discussing the wrongs in the world.

My equanimity seemed to bring out the demons in her.

She was perturbed with me because I wasn’t in the depths of despair over The Donald’s latest bull sh!t move of telling people to go to work when they’re sick.

[How stupid &/or senile is that man?]  

Nor was I despondent enough over Elizabeth Warren, the competent presidential candidate who the news outlets marginalized, dropping out of the race.

[How sad is it that our country is so backward when it comes to electing leaders?]

Nor was I gnashing my teeth over the gloomy grayness that has been the subtext of our winter weather here.

[How soon will spring get here?] 

Yep, she was peeved with me, but she’s what I’d call an Eeyore, a bit on the gloomy side.  Always.  Which means, of course, that my Pooh-like demeanor rankles her.

I do like her if only because she reminds me that someone else’s opinion of you need not define you.  And that by talking with a variety of personality types you can, if you are open to it, learn a few things.

Like for instance, you can learn that the word ‘happy’ can have a negative connotation. Who knew, huh?